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Episode Twelve: Tattoo Mania

Jim Tindall's City Council series

Gus Chapman was feeling especially disaffected. Tattoos, body piercing, and weird colored hair just got under his skin. On his drive in to the council meeting he attempted to debate with himself the economic merits of permitting the tattoo parlor, but his emotions kept rising to squelch his objectivity. What quieted his composure a bit was remembering Elvis Presley and what furor he caused. That led to a linking of immorality with rock and roll and blue jeans. He thought of the Beatles and their mop tops and how America reeled under the onslaught of long hair.

Descending into downtown, he sighed. "I'm just a hick fuddy duddy." He scratched his nose. "Just the same, tattoo parlors are yesterday's pool halls. Who needs em?"

When he entered the council chamber, Orin was already opening his notebook. Gus was surprised to see the audience full of illustrated people, tattoos of all sorts, shapes, and colors, girls in dreadlocks, women with nose studs, even one young fellow sporting a scarlet red Mohawk. It gave him the willies. One gal with about a dozen earrings held a sign, "Fashion, not Fascism!"

As Chapman sat down, Mayor Orin Holman struck the gavel once, "I call this meeting of the Warhaven City Council to order."

The minutes were approved as read, and following a relatively quick reporting of the city's finances, the matter of the business permit for the tattoo parlor arrived on the top of the agenda.

Sheila Berry asked for the floor from Mayor Holman, and he obliged.

"I would like to excuse myself from any debate or voting on this matter, other than to answer pertinent business specific questions from my fellow councilmen."

Orin nodded. "That makes a great deal of sense."

He tapped his fingers on the hilt of the gavel. "Now, there may be strong feelings running in opposition tonight. Let's remember this is a house of law and civility rules here."

Chapman coughed to secure the floor. "In reading my files it appears all the forms are in order, the fees have been paid, and Sheila has spelled out her business plans."

Sheila smiled, and tipped her head to Gus, but she was anxious, because she knew his conservative outlook and his old school view of life, traits that were his public servant face.

P.P. spoke up. "Well, I may be old fashioned, but I do struggle with the nature of the business. I realize responsible folks want tattoos and piercings and they make logical decisions on the kind of art they wish to purchase. I don’t know. It's just not my thing, and I want to voice that."

Orin was nodding. "I see your point, Pete. For me, it's the liquor store that rubs me the wrong way. I've always been a teetotaler, and yet, in city government, it's our responsibility to look beyond our individual values or quirks and attempt to make decisions that make sense for both our society and the culture that is Warhaven." He looked about the room. "Gus, I know this decision is eating you. Do you want to say anything else?"

"Thank you, Mayor Holman. Sheila Berry is very successful in business. She gets an idea, sees it through to opening day, and the business takes off. I have no doubt she will bring her professionalism and gumption to this venture too. It's just, well, like Pete said earlier, it's not his thing. It's not mine either, but I can't in good conscience vote against this business permit because I'm...well...prudish."

George Ansbach leaned over to Gus. "Gee, Gus, I never knew that about you."

The whole chamber let out a collective laugh.

The mayor hefted his gavel. "If there is no more discussion, do I have a motion?"

George raised his right hand off the table. "Mayor Holman, I move the city council accept the request for a business permit for Tattoo Mania from Sheila Berry."

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